Uber’s electric bike-share company, JUMP, recently announced some numbers: over the past year in San Francisco, more than 63,000 people took 625,000 rides on JUMP bikes. That’s an average of 7 rides per bike per day, which is impressive when compared with the industry average for docked-bikes of just one to two per day.
And that’s not all. In a blog post, Uber policy researcher Santosh Rao shared some insights into the way the JUMP bikes have affected Uber car trips. He writes:
“[O]verall trip frequency (Uber + JUMP trips) increased by 15% after their first JUMP ride. The entire increase can be attributed to the use of eBikes; Uber trips actually declined by 10%. During the workday (Mon- Fri, 8a-6p) when congestion is at its worst, this decline in early adopters’ Uber trips was even higher, 15%. To sum up, eBikes were popular with these early adopters and some Uber trips, especially during congested periods, were replaced by JUMP trips.”
The company’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, has been very open about his excitement that people are opting more for a bicycle rather than a car. While it might seem counterintuitive for a car-sharing platform to encourage such a transition, he sees it as a long-term opportunity. “During rush hour, it is very inefficient for a one-tonne hulk of metal to take one person 10 blocks,” Dara Khosrowshahi told the Financial Times. “We’re able to shape behavior in a way that’s a win for the user. It’s a win for the city. Short-term financially, maybe it’s not a win for us, but strategically, long term we think that is exactly where we want to head.”
Uber acquired JUMP a year ago, purchasing the fledgling San Francisco startup for something around $100 million. Since then, the company has flourished and offers its bikes in cities across the US as well as in Berlin, with plans to go global.
In general, bike-sharing platforms are gaining traction. Uber has also invested in Lime, an e-bike and scooter company which, somewhat ironically, has just launched a car-sharing platform in Seattle. And around the same time that Uber purchased JUMP, Lyft bought Motivate, a major bike-share operator.
And while all of these platforms, especially Uber, seem to be ubiquitous, apparently they aren’t yet as popular as they have the potential to be. WIRED reports that only “between 24.4 and 43 percent of the US population has used apps to summon rides.” As can be expected, it’s the younger generations who are the early adapters and are well versed in the likes of Uber and Lyft. Now that these companies have forged a stronghold in the realm of bikes, perhaps their reach will increase.